COSTA BRAVA (Spanish : WILD or RUGGED COAST) is a “coastal gem” in north-eastern Spain, and it stretches from BLANES, 60km northeast of Barcelona, to the French border.
Before Costa Brava became the official name, other names were suggested : COSTA GREGA (Greek Coast), COSTA del CORALL ( Coral Coast), COSTA SERENA (Serene Coast), COSTES de LLEVANT (Levant Coasts) or MARINA de L’EMPORDA (Emporda Marine) .
The combination of a very good summer climate, nature, excellent beaches and a favourable foreign exchange rate, which made Spain a relatively inexpensive tourist destination, was exploited by the construction of a large number of hotels and apartments. Tourism rapidly took over from fishing as the principal business of the area.
The Costa Brave is the sum of amazing sensations from Blanes to Portbou. Nature plays a staring role in the form of 3 natural parks : 3 distinctive settings, 3 areas of great biological importance. The coastline will also take your breath away with the beauty of its superb beaches and heavenly coves nestled among cliffs, not to mention typical Mediterranean towns such as CADAQUES or CALELLA de PALAFRUGELL and unique beauty spots such as the Bay of Roses, Banyoles Lake and the Botanical Gardens of SANTA CLOTILDE, PINYA de ROSA, MARIMURTRA & CAPROIG.
The Costa Brava also boasts an array of cultural assets : sites that display the wonderful legacy of Salvador Dali in EMPORDA, the Monastery of SANT PERE de RODES or the CASTLE of PERATALLADA; medieval towns such as TOSSA de MAR, PUBOL or PALS; the ruins of EMPURIES, a major archaeological site providing a fascinating insight into how the ancient Greeks and Romans lived; the traditional ceramics of LA BISBAL and GIRONA’S Old Quarter, featuring a superb historical gem, the Jewish Quarter.
In 1998, the coastal towns of Costa Brava signed a Charter called the CATA de TOSSA, which undertook to pursue environmental protection, along with tourism. This recognized the value of the region’s wide range of natural habitats. The MEDES ISLANDS, off the coast of L’ESTARTIT, are in Spain’s first marine reserve and provide a home to a wide range of fish and aquatic flora. The nearby wildfowl reserve on marshlands at AIGUAMOLLS de L’EMPORDA also saved land from the potential ravages of development.
MEDES ISLANDS : The small archipelago of the Medes, located in the heart of the Costa Brava, in the town of TORRDELLA de MONTGRI and close to the mountain of the same name is composed of 7 islands that are characterized by its rich marine ecosystem. The proximity of the coast and the River Ter, these islands provide a great amount of organic matter, allowing the variety of flora and fauna typical of the Medes. Some examples of this variety are the colony of gulls, the peculiar terrestrial vegetation, algae or coralline seabed where you can go diving.
ALBERA MASSIF : Declared area of outstanding natural beauty, the landscape presents one with the largest concentrations of megalithic monuments in Catalonia, with small Romanesque Churches that make this area one of the most rich heritage and history of the surrounding region of the ALT EMPORDA. And the ALBERA MASSIF presents transition vegetation between the species of the PYRENEAN mountains and the Mediterranean, as well as fauna, characterized by great diversity, between the mountain areas and the wetland Catalonia.
LAKE of BANYOLES : This area of great landscape and geology covers the whole of the coast called the LAKE OF BANYOLES. With an area of 107hectares and a “feature-eight”, and is one of the largest in the IBERIAN PENINSULA. The most important lakes of this system are its origin and source of the feed water through seepage of rain in some parts of the GARROTXA through subterranean flows caused. LAKE OF BANYOLES and the collection of small ponds, present throughout the year and chemical processes of thermal stratification. In addition to these features, concentrated around the lake is a wide variety of flora and fauna.
ISLAND OF TER : The island of River Ter is a natural area of great ecological value for its biodiversity and for its potential as a setting for environmental education, both for students and for all those who love nature. The area is protected by municipal regulations and by the condition WILDLIFE REFUGE. Fauna include otter, genet and various species of butterflies typical of aquatic environments and a variety of birds such as night heron, kingfisher and lesser spotted woodpecker among others. In total, about 200 species have been observed.
The main rivers that pour their waters into the Costa Brava are : MUGA, FLUVIA. TER & TORDERA. The climate is typical Mediterranean ——– mild and temperate characterized by hot dry summers and moderately cold winters. In the 1950s, the Costa Brava was identified by the Spanish Government and local entrepreneurs as being suitable for substantial development as a holiday destination, mainly for package holiday tourists from Northern Europe, especially the UK and France.